After being on the road for nearly a month, we were on our way to Napa Valley. This was our last destination before heading back home again. Our US trip was going to be just a regular cross-country road trip and I was going to photograph the hell out of it. Which I did, but in the end it had brought me so much more. It was a revelation of sorts. Being away from the hectic surroundings at home, I finally had the time to think things through and to breathe again. What did I want in life? How was I going to manage things back home again? What needed to change? I wouldn’t go as far as saying it was a life changing experience, but it was an eye-opener at the very least.
We drove from San Francisco to Napa Valley, passing the Golden Gate Bridge into the vineyard county. For our last destination, I couldn’t have wished for a better place than the Calistoga Ranch Resort. The resort is tucked into a private canyon in the Upper Napa Valley. After a warm welcome and a glass of wine (from the ranch’s own vineyard), we were shown the way to our lodge. The ranch has a peaceful feel to it. Wherever you go, you’re surrounded by nature. We were told that the architects tried to build around the trees and plants as much as possible and the lodges were designed in a way to make it blend in with the environment.
I couldn’t remember the last time we had this much peace and quiet on a vacation. I make it a habit to plan a day full up to the hour. For Calistoga Ranch Resort I hadn’t planned anything at all. Which is a good thing. This luxury retreat is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life.
It was a good thing we had planned this last – had we done differently, I’m afraid we may never have left for the rest of the trip.
We settled into our lodge and after a quick shower in our own private outdoor shower (I must have gone a hundred times during the whole duration of our stay – one can never have too many outdoor showers), we went out to explore the rest of the resort. To start with the resort’s swimming pool. In a Garden of Eden like setting, we sat in the shades to escape from the scorching hot sun. Jumping into the swimming pool, dressed and all, crossed my mind. But then, you don’t want to be that fool from the Netherlands who couldn’t handle California heat (would have made for
great hilarious photos though).
The resort’s Wine Cave has been a venue of celebrations to many celebrities. I imagined how beautiful it would look with receptions and wedding ceremonies, when it’s decorated for the occasion. The beautifully lit walls of the cave, the red hues, the dark and mysterious feel. Yeah – even for someone who doesn’t necessarily need to get married, it’s easy to picture yourself in a white gown in that gorgeous space.
We finish the night with a delicious dinner at The Lakehouse. The Lakehouse, overlooking Lake Lommel, celebrates the rich culture of food and wine that the Napa Valley is famous for. The restaurant makes use of fresh organic produce from the region, complemented by an extensive wine list. It was the perfect ending of a near perfect day.
Stay tuned for the next post!